I thought nothing of it when I saw the NSTAR truck parked over a glowing hole in the street on Mass Ave, with a cop directing traffic away from my block. And I thought little of it when the Hess station three blocks was closed and unlit, with ropes barring people from driving between the pumps. But I finally got it when I pulled up to my apartment and saw the entire building – thirty-six apartments, three stories and a basement – dark. And the building next door. Something had taken most of the power near Davis.
I quickly uncovered every non-utility source of light in my studio – three tea candles, a book light and the Maglite I always keep within arm’s length of my bed. This took ten minutes, after which I realized how little else I could do. Without wanting to open the fridge, dinner consisted of Ritz crackers and Keebler cookies. I read until my eyelids grew heavy, napped for thirty minutes or so, then read for a bit longer. That’s about all you can do in an unpowered apartment.
Resolving to make something of the evening, I set out for karaoke. The day’s slushy rain had turned into a thin sheet of ice over every flat surface. I walked from the Central Square T station to Wendy’s with a shuffling gait – my center of gravity four inches lower, my feet pointed like a duck’s. Working my way through a Double Stack, I wondered if homo sapiens might have evolved this way if we grew up on icy tundras.
I stayed at karaoke maybe ninety minutes, sang some Dylan and left after wishing folks a happy New Year.
On the way back to Central I saw a dead man in a doorway. He didn’t look too old, and he was dressed cleanly but in a way that suggested homelessness. Two Cambridge cops flanked him, neither of them making the moves that a first responder would make to help an unconscious man (i.e., keeping him conscious until the pie wagon arrived). One of them peeled Latex gloves off her hands as I passed.
Taking a nap at 7:00 and spending a few hours in darkness threw my whole evening into a weird fugue. This week has an extra day to it, a four hour sojourn between Wednesday and Thursday. It’s like a show with actors I recognize but a script I don’t – I keep expecting something different.
The cure here’s to sleep it off, which, by the time you read this, will have already happened. This note comes to you perpendicular to time.
Edit: woke up fine this morning, albeit sluggish. Disregard most of the above.